The Tubes – Re Styles, Then & Now

From the very beginning of The Tubes, I was always taken with the vocal and performance style of band member Re Styles – born Shirley Marie MacLeod (certainly being a teenage boy at the time didn’t hurt my infatuation very much). Watch Styles in her role as Patty Hearst, live at California Hall in 1974, as The Tubes perform “Whiz Quiz” and “Crime Medley” (above), then 35 years later as she makes a one night only appearance with the band doing exactly what made her a natural member of the band as the band performs “Smoke” (below).
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The Tubes, “Young and Rich” Tour, 1976

Michael Cotten, director and coordinator of The Tubes Project, has done a superb job combining still photography and the soundboard recording of The Tubes May 8th, 1976, Buffalo, New York show from their “Young and Rich” Tour.
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The Tubes – Trouble Every Day

The Tubes cover Frank Zappa‘s “Trouble Every Day” at BB Kings, NYC, April 9th, 2008.

Roger Steen (Lead Guitar) takes on vocal duties (I suspect, while Fee Waybill is off stage during one of many costume stages) while Rick Anderson (Bass) are backed up by drummer Jonathan Mover (filling in for an absent Prairie Prince — and he definitely looks like he’s having a ball!). A great version of this classic Mothers of Invention tune.

Roger Steen is another truly underrated guitarist. Click here to find out what he’s currently up to with The Roger Steen Band, as well as links to some online songs and his interview with Ultimate Guitar.

Though, technically, no longer performing with The Tubes, original group founder, Bill Spooner has been keeping busy with his own project, The Folk-Ups. Click here to learn more.

Finally, let’s end off this post where it began, with Frank Zappa and band performing “Trouble Every Day” at KCET Sound Stage B on August 27, 1974.

Tubes Cover Zappa, 1972

The following tracks are the two Zappa covers done by The Tubes in a 1972 concert. The exact date and location are unknown, but the concert probably took place in a club in the San Francisco area. I wish to thank hasnamus over at Zappateers who first torrented these Zappacovers (while the audio quality is rather poor, these tracks are great pieces of archival audio history):

Trouble Every Day

King Kong

The Tubes — Poland Whole/Madam I’m Adam

In this video, The Tubes are captured performing one of their classic songs from their Young and Rich album in December, 2005, in their home base: San Francisco (While the audio quality is just above average, the energy of the band and the song still come through loud and clear). As an additional treat for Tubes fans, the following is an excerpt from their April 21st, 1977 show at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco:


Tubes Wild West Show — Mondo Bondage

Did someone mention The Tubes? For your entertainment pleasure, here is an updated theatrical version of The Tubes classic “Mondo Bondage” taken from their DVD, “Wild In London” (Recorded at the Shepherds Bush Empire, Dec 2004).

Beware: An aging Fee in leather bondage attire may either offend, or perhaps even excite certain viewers. You are hereby warned.

Wolfgang’s Vault: The Tubes @ Winterland (1975)

This show, staged at Winterland in the band’s hometown of San Francisco, on February 21st, 1975, a few months before the release of their self-titled debut album in June of that year, clearly shows the great energy that the Tubes had at this early point in their career. This short set, clocks in at just under 30 minutes. Listen for yourself by clicking here. Then compare the energy of that ensemble of the Tubes with the one that released Genius of America in 1996:


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The Tubes, “Whiz Quiz” 1974

Mike Cotten at The Tubes Project has uploaded yet another gem with this clip of “Whiz Quiz” from The Tubes‘ 1974 show at California Hall in San Francisco. Inspired by “Let’s Make a Deal“, the clip also shows early Tubes’ member Re Styles in character as Patty Hearst (if you recall that 70s game show, contestants had to dress up in order to play the game). Also in this clip are early versions of “Peter Gunn” & “Perry Mason” themes that would later appear as “Crime Medley” on The Tubes’ highly successful live album, “What Do You Want From Live?

Note: “Whiz Quiz” is currently available on the CD, “Dawn of the Tubes: Demo Daze and Radio Waves” LABEL: Phoenix Gems. Release date: March 21, 2000.